The Challenges of Physically and Technically Protecting American DiplomacyAmbassador Francis X. Taylor,
Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Secuirty and Director, Office of Foreign Missions
Remarks to Security Technical Specialist Graduates
Treaty Room, U.S. Department of State; Washington, DC
January 16, 2004
I'm especially excited to be here in the Treaty Room with you. The seventh floor of our State Department is one of the most beautiful and historic places in Washington, DC. It's a place where our Secretary signs treaties with foreign counterparts, and it is a great and fitting place to welcome six new security technical specialists to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
You gentlemen are graduating at a very unique time in our history, both in America and in the world. I don't know how many of you saw the recent New York Times article by Secretary Powell. In it, he laid out our foreign policy agenda for the coming year. It is an aggressive and challenging one that will require our fullest efforts and dedication to bring it to reality.
Afghanistan and Iraq are our two most important foreign policy challenges for 2004. In preparation for our return to Afghanistan after 10 years away, we sent security technical specialists as a part of the security team that installed physical and technical countermeasures in the Presidential Palace in Afghanistan. This was critical to our mission of protecting President Karzai.
This challenge is one that you will take on again as we open our new embassy in Baghdad on July 1st. Your contributions will have an immediate impact on American diplomacy, our foreign policy, and the security of our nation. It is important that you take time to celebrate this day with family and friends who have joined here to support you. In the very near future, you will join America's war against global terrorism.
We will ask you to travel to some of the most challenging and dangerous areas in the world to protect our diplomats and our missions abroad. Your job, indeed our job, is critically important to ensuring that the President's foreign policy agenda is carried out by our diplomats and members of our missions safely and securely in more than 250 locations around the world.
Together, the collective challenges we face are clear. Without question, we have a difficult job, one where there are no points for second place. In order to meet these challenges successfully, we must use all the resources that are available to us. And our most valuable resource is our people—you.
Without our people, we would not be able to accomplish half of what we have to do. I commit to you that, as your Assistant Secretary and the leader of your agency, we will provide you with the tools and skills you need to succeed in your career in the Foreign Service.
I also believe in diversity. I believe that diversity of experiences and backgrounds bring a perspective to an organization that makes it stronger and more flexible to meet the challenges of the future. This group is an excellent example of that kind of diversity. The students in this class represent an incredible diversity that we look forward to having as part of our organization.
Certainly we don't often get co-producers in hip hop motion pictures joining our ranks, nor security consultants for Arnold, the Terminator, and now Governor Schwarzenegger, and Bob Hope.
Training is the lifeblood of any organization, and we are pleased to have a former community college instructor who developed a technology application program to introduce high school students to the field of technology. We have a former Air Force security policeman; that's my lineage, you know, at least the Air Force piece, and a sonar technician who retired after 20 years in the Navy.
I would like to tell you the story of one student, in particular. I think his story in particular exemplifies the wonderful opportunities the United States and the Foreign Service has for those with vision, commitment, and the desire to work hard, and let no obstacle stand in their way.
Rosauro Pacubas (phonetic) is a retired electrician's mate senior chief. He retired from the Navy after 28 years of honorable service. Rosauro started his employment with the U.S. Government as a dishwasher in the American Embassy in Manila. There he became so impressed with the Marines, he joined the Navy. Smart man.
Now, he is joining the Foreign Service, where he will once again work in a U.S. embassy, this time as a person responsible for ensuring that the technical and physical systems that help protect our facilities and people from harm do not fail us. Welcome back to the Department of State, Rosauro. Isn’t this an American story? I mean this country, and what it provides as a beacon to the world, is unmatched. That's just one story among millions about opportunities that are created here.
I have hopefully laid out an ambitious vision for all of you, a vision of the future that you, your colleagues, and I firmly believe in. However in pursuit of these shared goals, always remember your core values. Shortly, you will receive your credentials. Honor them and treat them with respect, as you do your colleagues. Act with integrity. You will be treated in kind. Admit your faults and work quickly to overcome them. We will always be there to support you.
The Diplomatic Security Service is one of the preeminent security and law enforcement organizations in the world. Our reputation for excellence is unmatched. You are the future of this organization. We will call upon you to excel early and often in your careers. I am confident that each of you will make a difference for our Department, for our nation, and most especially for the American people. That is what we have trained you to do, and now it is time for you to go forth and perform.
I welcome each of you to our team. May God bless each of you and your families as you go forth to serve this great nation and our people. This is a wonderful time to be in service to the American people, during a time of war. I am confident that each of you will do exceptionally well in the jobs that we have laid in front of you.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us and for supporting our graduates.